Labelling and Producing Organic Food
Some of you out there might think that the labels on food
can be misleading and untrustworthy, so I am going to explain
the laws and regulations about labelling and producing organic
If you want to grow or process organic food to sell you must
be registered with UKROFS or a body approved by UKROFS. This
also means that you have to be inspected by them at least once
a year. This also applies to those wanting to import organic
produce from outside the EC (European Community). The UKROFS
approved bodies do operate privately but they have to be inspected
by UKROFS, to make sure that their systems conform to the EC
regulations and UKROFS standards. UKROFS also carries out checks
on farmers and processors registered with the sector bodies to
make totally sure the regulations are adhered to.
There are also rigorous standards of production surrounding
organic food. There have been many codes for organic farming
prepared by voluntary bodies and applied by their members. However,
in 1993 a European regulation became affective. This regulation
describes practices and inputs that may be used in organic farming
and growing, also the inspection system which must be put in
place to ensure this and the ingredients and processing aids
in organic food. All food and drink that is sold as organic must
come from growers that are registered with UKROFS and subjected
to regular inspections. UKROFS consists of an independent board
appointed by agricultural Ministers, which is assisted by a small
secretariat, provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries
and Food. The job of the UKROFS is to insure that the EC Regulation
is followed by all organic farmers and processors.
As for organic imported food you can trust it because the
EC Regulation operates throughout the whole European Community
so organic food produced under the Ec Regulation can be freely
sold within the EC. This means that you may see the names or
symbols of the certifying bodies from other EC countries. There
are some countries outside the EC that have recognised regulations
very similar to our system, produce from these countries can
also be sold freely. As for other countries, before they can
sell food labelled as organic they must prove to the UKROFS or
similar body in another EC country, that the food has been produced
to an equivalent standard and inspection system.
Products such as potatoes must be grown by a certified producer
of organic foods if it is to be labelled as organic. You would
see on the label something like "Organically Grown Potatoes"
or "Organic Potatoes". Also on the label there must
be an indication of the organic certification body with which
the potatoes are registered. This will be done using a code nu\mber
- if it is not there then it is breaking the regulation. There
also may be the name or trademark of the certification body.
For more information about the current UK standards please click
here.The rules are the same for manufactured foods with one or
more organic ingredients. An example of this is in the case of
bread, the label might say "wholemeal bread baked from organic
flour" or "organic wholemeal bread". It is recognised
by the EU that it is not possible to make products entirely from
organic ingredients. In this case the manufacturer can use up
to 5% of non-organic ingredients and still label the product
organic. However artificial additives and genetically modified
ingredients can never be used in organic produce.If foods contain
from 70 to 95% of organic ingredients they can not call the food
'organic' but they can list what organic ingredients have been
used in the ingredients list. They can also have a description
on the front label showing the percentage of organic ingredients.
The production of all organic foods is provided by the EC.
There are also standards for animal production being developed
however, until these rules are in place the national standards
like those of the UKROFS are to be used in the UK. The aim of
these regulations is to keep animals in good health and welfare.
Giving animals appropriate diets and keeping good standards for
their day-to-day care promotes animal welfare. This includes
if the animals are ever ill, the farmer must give appropriate
treatment. If there is no alternative treatment available to
the animals then they will be given drugs such as antibiotics.
Only under veterinary advice and when the animals life and suffering
depends on it. If treatment from a vet is needed then no product
from the animal can be sold as organic in most cases twice as
long as the normal 'withdrawal period' for that medicine takes.
Not under any circumstances can organophosphorus pesticides
be used to treat animals sold for organic meat. Also the conditions
of transportation and slaughter of the animals has to meet specific
requirements, this is to make sure it is carried out in a humane
way. Organic food is no longer classed as a luxury, it is readily
available, legally bound, water-tight healthy food. Please think
hard about what you are feeding your family, and make sure its
There are rules surrounding the labelling of organic produce,
these rules come from the Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91
of 24 June 1991 on organic production of agricultural products
and indications referring thereto on agricultural products and
foodstuffs. These regulations are to ensure that consumers aren't
Pasture v Feedlot Diet
Commercially reared animals are over fed to fatten then up
quicker, and this can have a very negative effect on the animals
health and wellbeing. Firstly animals can develop a condition
called "acidosis". If animals are kept on pasture the
huge amounts of acid they produce in their stomachs (rumen) is
neutralised by the amount of saliva they produce eating grass.
However, if the animals are are on feedlot diets their diet is
low in roughage, they do not ruminate as long or produce as much
saliva. This all contributes towards a condition called"acidosis"
- severe acid indigestion. This condition can also lead to "rumenitis,"
which is an inflammation of the rumen (stomach). This eventually
leads to the wall of the rumen becoming ulcerated, and they no
longer absorb nutrients as efficiently. That's not the end of
it either! liver abscesses are a direct consequence of rumenitis
- from 15 to 30 percent of cattle that have feedlot diets have
liver abscesses. A fourth consequence of this type of diet is
called 'Bloat', which is trapped gas in the cows rumen (stomach).
In severe cases of bloat the rumen becomes so distended with
gas that the animal is unable to breathe and dies from asphyxiation.
Feedlot polio is also a direct consequence of switching animals
from pasture to grain. Feedlot polio causes a lack of vitamin
B-1 this starves the brain of energy and creates paralysis. Feedlot
managers try to manage these problems by using a chest of medication,
including ionophores (to buffer acidity) and antibiotics (to
reduce liver abscesses.) Surely most people with common sense
see that feeding animals their natural diet of pasture is a much
more humane and sensible approach.
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